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Whistle Training

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I trained Sams recall on a commercially purchased whistle when he was very young. After a while i kept forgetting to take the whistle with us on walks and in the end started to use my own lips to whistle with in the the same kind of way i.e., two short/sharp high pitched whistles), and to this day thats how i recall him when out.


He recalls 100% of the time when whistled in the above way.


Sam has some pretty strong basics i.e., recall (100%), down (100%), stay (not quite 100% yet but good), and as i'm starting to work with him more at distances, i.e., getting him to down at a distance, i want to start back on the whistle training again.


My questions are:-


Obviously it will be easier for me to use a proper whistle at distances, as i'm not the worlds best whistler. I'm not sure which whistle to purchase, i've purchased both a gun dog whistle and a shepherds whistle in the past, the gun dog one was very easy to use, still have this, whereas the shepherds whistle, although a lot higher pitched and louder, was a bugger to try and get the hang of, i only had about a 30% success rate at getting it to make any type of noise! I've now lost the shepherds whistle, have no idea where its gone.


Which type would you use?


Is your dog trained on the whistle for downing at distances?

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The thing is consistency. Really, none of the Border Collies have read any books on shepherd's whistle use. In the beginning, when sheep dogs were used, I imagine the shepherds used what ever whistle they had, be it their own mouths or something else. Using the shepherd's whistle on working sheep dogs makes sense if you need to occasionally let someone else work your dog or sell the dog. Dogs have very good hearing but they can also distinguish subtle variances. They can tell the difference in the motor noise of certain people's cars, so it is quite accute! If you are very consistant in your whistles, it doesn't really matter what you use. Not to the dog anyway. They just want to know what you want. The delivery of it is beside the point. So, if you are not trialing or selling or loaning out a trained sheep dog, it is really up to you and your comfort and what you can be consistant with.

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